Paleobotany and Palynology


Provide basic training for the characterization of the general aspects of the evolution of plants and Dinoflagellates (group of organisms studied by plactónicos Palynology) throughout Earth''''''''s history and its importance for the stratigraphy paleoenvironments and paleoclimatology

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Fernando Henrique da Silva Reboredo, Ligia Nunes de Sousa Pereira de Castro


Weekly - 4

Total - 51

Teaching language



Not available.


Brown, C. A. (2008) – Palynological techniques. Amer. Ass. Strat. Palynology Foundation.

Davis, P. & Kendrick, P. (2004) – Fossil plants (living past). The Natural History Museum, 192 p.

Hesse, M., Halbritter, H., Zetter, R., Weber, M., Buchner, R. Frosch-Radivo, A. & Ulrich, S. (2009) – Pollen terminology. An illustrated handbook. Springer, 259 p.

Jansonius, J. & Mcgregor, D.C. (1996) - Palynology: principles and applications. Volume 1 - Principles. A.A.S.P. Foundation: 462 p.

Lemoigne, Y. (1988) – La flore au cours des temps géologiques. Geobios, Lyon, mém. spécial nº 10, T. I, 384 p., T. II, 296 p.

Meyen, S. V. (1987) Fundamentals of palaeobotany. Chapman and Hall, London, 432p.

Renault-Miskovsky, J. & Petzol, M. (1989) – Spores et pollen. La Duraulié, Paris, 360 p.

Simpson, M. (2006) – Plant systematics. Elsevier Academic Press, 590 p.

Sousa, L.; Rivas-Carballo, M.R. & Pais, J. (1999) - Dinoflagelados. Nomenclatura portuguesa. Ciências da Terra, 13: 35-57.

Taylor, T. N., Taylor, E. & Krings, M.(2009) – Paleobotany. The biology and evolution of fossil plants. Second Edition. Elsevier, 1230 p.

Teixeira, C. & Pais, J. (1976) – Introdução à paleobotânica. As grandes fases da evolução dos vegetais. Ed. autores, Lisboa, 210 p.

Traverse, A. (1988) – Paleopalynology. Unwin Hyman, 600 p.

Teaching method

The teaching, supported in the use of multimedia projections and e-learning methods (use of the Moodle program) will include theoretical and practical lessons. In practical classes students will make palynological preparations in the lab and make microscope observation and interpretation of their slides.
The evaluation will have a continuous component, by performing tests and a written reports. The individual report will be presented in power-point followed by public discussion.

Evaluation method

Continuous assessment in two components:

Test - 50% of the final classification (T)

Individual Report - each with 40% of the final classification ( theoretical-practical or TP)

Final rating: (0.50*Test) + (0.40*Report) + (0.10*Public discussion)

Approval requires a minimum score of 9.5 (scale of 20 values) for each component (theoretical-practical and theoretical).

Students without approval in the continuous assessment will be submitted to exam. Rating equal to 0.5*Exam+0.5*classification of theoretical-practical. Approval with a minimum grade of 9.5 (scale of 20 values)

Subject matter


1. Introduction. General aspects of Paleobotany and Palynology. Historical aspects. Systematics, taxonomy and nomenclature. Methods and techniques of study in Paleobotany and Palynology.

2. Overview of the morphology of plants. Morphology of leaves, stems, spores and pollen. Dinoflagellates.

3. Fossilization of the plants.

4. Methods of collection, preparation and study. Construction of pollen diagrams and their interpretation. Palynofacies.

5. Overview of paleoecology. Dinoflagellates and plant fossils as environmental and climate indicators. Climatic curves.

6. Classification of dinoflagellate cysts and plants.

7. Evolution of dinoflagellates and plants in time. Origin of terrestrial vegetation. General aspects of the plants of the Paleozoic and Mesozoic. Origin and expansion of angiosperms. The vegetation of the Cenozoic. Progressive degradation of vegetation in Europe during the Quaternary. Establishment of the Mediterranean vegetation.



Treatment of samples for dinoflagellate cysts, spores and pollen. Obtaining palynological contents. Preparation of thin sections for pollen analysis. Observation under an optical microscope; palynofacies, some forms of identification.

Note macroremains plant collections representing the evolution of vegetation over time.


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